SMEX will host the sixth iteration of the annual regional digital rights event, Bread&Net, taking place on November 14, 15, and 16 in Beirut, Lebanon.
Bread&Net is an event that brings together tech experts, activists, policymakers, academics and media practitioners from the region to discuss and address pressing issues at the intersection of technology, society, and human rights. This gathering aims to strengthen an already blooming digital rights movement in West Asia and North Africa, fostering the exchange of knowledge, research, and digital resources that would sustain civil society in its fight for safe, just, and inclusive digital spaces.
Bread&Net 2023 picks up on previous years’ emphasis on key issues pertaining to human rights online, including digital authoritarianism and its manifestations in WANA, ethical tech at the advent of artificial intelligence and smart technologies, policies and law, both at government and corporate levels, and lastly, resistance communities and movement building as sites of collective reclamation of digital spaces.
Speakers and participants can look forward to a diverse range of activities, including keynote speeches, panel discussions and sessions, workshops, and diverse opportunities for networking and collaboration. We are thrilled to host renowned speakers who are expert practitioners in their respective fields, and whose work has significantly advanced the fight for digital rights and freedoms across West Asia and North Africa.
Quote: “This growing interest in digital rights we are witnessing across Arabic-speaking countries motivates us to keep pushing Bread&Net to new horizons, reaching new networks and communities within our region. We know change takes time, but we’re already seeing how our collective efforts are shifting the digital rights landscape in WANA,” said Mohamad Najem, Executive Director at SMEX.
Bread&Net is a free event, open to anyone interested in how technology shapes, brings forth, and even hinders human rights. We encourage participants from academia, civil society organizations, policymakers, and the private sector to join us as we envision a more inclusive, secure, and rights-respecting digital future for our region.
What is Bread&Net?
Every year, SMEX hosts and organizes the leading unconference on digital rights and freedoms in West Asia and North Africa: Bread&Net. Advocates for human rights in the digital age can find and join trusted, diverse networks where they can build their knowledge on digital rights and work together to pressure power holders to respect and protect their human rights. The aim of Bread&Net is to build, expand, and strengthen the movement for digital rights in WANA, equipping it in its struggle for greater freedom, social justice, accountability, and security for all people in the region.
SMEX is a non-profit that advances and defends human rights and freedoms in the digital sphere across West Asia and North Africa. SMEX advocates for people in the WANA and the diaspora to be able to access and engage with the internet, mobile services, and other networked spaces safely and without fear of censorship, surveillance, or repercussion. We monitor abuses to digital rights through reporting and campaigning, and we conduct research, training, and advocacy on internet policy and digital rights to support the expansion of more accessible and participatory environments for individuals and civil society. SMEX also offers free, technical, and rapid response service to support individuals and organizations under digital threats and attacks via its Digital Safety Helpdesk.